Newsletter 10: Silicon Labs corners the home automation market, Waymo pushes forward in the wake of Uber’s crash

by | Apr 1, 2018 | Newsletter

Happy April!

Read on for news on Sigma Designs’ acquisition, Microsoft’s big push into IoT, and an Alexa-controlled flamethrower!

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What We’re Reading

  • After months of discussion, Silicon Labs has completed its acquisition of Sigma Designs’ Z-Wave business. As the famously uniform standard changes hands, should we expect a movement toward a more permissive and open protocol in the same vein as the open-source Zigbee? Or will Silicon Labs stay the course that Sigma has plotted for years? Many will be watching over the next few months to see the answer.
  • Microsoft has been raising eyebrows recently with a large push into IoT; announcing two partnerships with IoT companies within the space of a week. The first partnership, with an IoT security company called Electric Imp, harnesses Microsoft’s Azure platform to power Electric Imp’s security services, which will in turn cover Azure users. Soon after this, Microsoft announced a “better together” partnership with C3 IoT, which will see C3 fully integrate their IoT platform into Azure, allowing users to quickly and easily scale IoT and AI applications through Microsoft’s infrastructure.

  • Less than a month after Uber’s fatal crash, Waymo has reportedly applied for a permit to deploy their driverless cars to the streets with no safety drivers. With a longer track record than many of their competitors, and good data from their 2017 testing to back up their application, it seems likely that their home state of California will approve the permit, which would only extend to the driverless car company’s home base of Mountain View, CA.

What’s Happening

Just Plain Cool

  • NASA recently launched its TESS satellite on the back of SpaceX’s Falcon 9 rocket. The TESS (Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite) is being launched into a lunar resonant orbit, a new satellite deployment technique which minimizes cost and bulk by using the moon’s gravity to pull satellites into a progressively higher orbit over multiple revolutions. The mission of the TESS is to monitor 200,000 nearby stars for signs of exoplanets.

  • If you were worried that your data is too safe, and that you aren’t being watched enough, worry no more! Researchers at the University of Michigan have developed a terrifyingly tiny spy camera. The camera is under 1mm wide, and is powered by ambient light, meaning that it can be hidden virtually anywhere with no need for clunky batteries. Yay?

  • Have you ever thought that your home assistant was great, but that there was something missing? And that that something was 1000ºC of burny goodness? Colin Furze sure did! Check it out his Alexa flamethrower, but maybe don’t try this at home.